Consciously or not, we are all of us influenced by the work of others. Which authors writers do you bear a debt of gratitude to?
Anyone who has read my columns will by now know that one of my major inluencs was Edgar Allan Poe. Poe was an eclectic author of satire, poetry, crime, detective drama, but is best known for his Gothic horror and macabre short stories. I grew up with these, and Poe has had a palpable influence on the thematic content of my work.
He had a similar heady influence on another writer to influence me, H P Lovecraft. Lovecraft created an entire reality (or unreality) of creatures, gods to the mortal world, a mythos that has been adopted and used by a raft of writers after him. I came to Lovecraft’s work comparatively late, but the effect was immediate, so much so that I have now explicitly set my own Long Watch story arc within the Lovecraftian Cthulhu Mythos.
As a departure from the horrific, British writer Terry Pratchett has been part of my reading life since I was in my early teens. Pratchett’s Discworld is a fantasy world that is an eerie parallel of ours, part steam-punk, part magic, Pratchett has created a world that satirises our own with such sardonic wit that I frequently have to stop reading as I am laughing too much to focus on the words. Pratchett does not shy away from powerful issues (recent books have focused on racism, war, corruption etc) but demonstrates the power of humour to tackel social issues. Even in quite serious pieces, I try to make room for at least some light touches of humour.
Which writers have had the most influence on your work?